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Dr.Beth, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 631
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota
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How soon after pug puppies are born should they start suckling

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How soon after pug puppies are born should they start suckling? Also, about how much time should pass between each pups birth?
Congratulations on the new puppies.   Typically puppies will start suckling within the first few hours of birth, but if mom is quite busy birthing other pups, she may not let them suckle right away. Let mom finish birthing before you get too excited about the pups suckling.

Expect one pup every 45 to 60 minutes with 10 to 30 minutes of hard straining for each. It is normal for dogs to take a rest partway through delivery, and she may not strain at all for up to 4 hours between pups. If she is seen straining hard for over an hour, or if she takes longer than a 4-hour break, consult a veterinarian.

Also Call Your Veterinarian If:

30 to 60 minutes of strong contractions occur with no puppy being produced.
Greater than four hours pass between pups and you know there are more inside.
She fails to go into labor within 24 hours of her temperature drop.
She is in obvious extreme pain.
Greater than 70 days of gestation have passed.
It is normal for the bitch to spike a fever in the 24 to 48 hours following birth. This fever should not be accompanied by clinical signs of illness.

Normal vaginal discharge after parturition should be odorless and may be green, dark red-brown or bloody and may persist in small amounts for up to 8 weeks.

Problems to Watch For

Metritis (Inflammation of the Uterus)
Signs of this condition are as follows:
foul-smelling vaginal discharge
loss of appetite
no interest in the puppies
decreased milk production
If these signs are noted, usually in the first day or two postpartum, a veterinarian should be consulted. Your dog may have retained a placenta or have suffered some trauma during delivery. Animals who have required assistance with delivery are often predisposed to metritis.

This condition results when the bitch has trouble supporting the calcium demand of lactation. Calcium supplementation predisposes a bitch to this condition. Usually affected animals are small dogs. They demonstrate:
nervousness and restlessness
no interest in or even aggression towards the pups
stiff, painful gait

This progresses to:
muscle spasms
inability to stand
This condition generally occurs in the first 3 weeks of lactation and a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.

Mastitis (Inflammation of the Breasts)
Normal nursing glands are soft and enlarged. Diseased glands are red, hard, and painful. In general, the bitch does not act sick; the disease is confined to the mammary tissue. The bitch may be sore and discourage the pups from nursing; however, it is important to keep the pups nursing the affected glands. This is not harmful to the puppies and helps flush out the infected material. Hot packing may be helpful.

Problems with the Puppies
Newborn puppies should spend their time feeding and sleeping; they are not very playful or active for the first week. Puppies that nurse poorly, cry constantly, or do not sleep with the rest of the litter are in trouble and should be examined by the veterinarian. Ideally the puppies should be weighed shortly after birth and should be expected to gain 5% to 10% of their birth weight daily. (A small weight loss in the first day of life is normal but this should be less than 10% of their initial weight.) Puppies that do not gain weight properly are in trouble and should be checked by the veterinarian. It is helpful if puppies are weighed at least daily to be sure they are growing properly. Very young puppies have clear or slightly yellow-tinged urine. Obviously yellow urine is a sign of dehydration.

If you think there is a problem with the mother or any of the puppies, contact your veterinarian. Examination may be needed for the mother and entire litter, not just the individual who appears sick.

Most dogs are excellent mothers and problems are few. The basic rule is to seek veterinary care if she seems to feel sick or if she ceases to care for her young. Puppies nurse until they are about 6 weeks old and then may be adopted by new homes.

Good Luck!

Dr. Beth

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